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Société des Charbonnages, Hauts Fourneaux et Laminoirs de l'Espérance (1863-1877)

Société métallurgique d'Espérance-Longdoz (1877-1970)
Industry Steel
Predecessor Société anonyme des Hauts Fourneaux, Usines et Charbonnages de l'Espérance
Société Dothée et Cie. (Longdoz)
Successor Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence-Espérance Longdoz (1970)
Headquarters Longdoz, Liège, Belgium
Products Rolled steel plate

Espérance-Longdoz was a coal mining and steel production company located in the Liege region of Belgium.

The company merged with Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence in 1970 to form Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence-Espérance Longdoz (known as Cockerill), later being merged into Usinor, then Arcelor then ArcelorMittal.

Production at Longdoz ceased in the latter part of the 20th century, the factory site was redevelopend in the 2000s into a shopping complex Médiacité, one part of the buildings at Longdoz has been preserved and is now the home of an industrial museum La Maison de la Métallurgie et de l'Industrie de Liège.

A later steelworks development, built at Chertal in the 1960s is still in operation (as of 2010) and is part of the ArcelorMittal group, within the Liege division.


In 1845/6 the Dothée brothers established a tinplate factory in Longdoz in Liege,[1][2] then in 1862/3 the Dothée brothers merged their business with the Société anonyme des Hauts Fourneaux, Usines et Charbonnages de l'Espérance (founded 1836[3]) forming the Société des Charbonnages, Hauts Fourneaux et Laminoirs de l'Espérance. In 1877 the company disposed of the coal mining business of the company and became the Société métallurgique d'Espérance-Longdoz.[3][4][5]

The innovation of hot-dip galvanizing was introduced in 1881 by Paul Borgnet who later founded the Phenix Works in Flémalle in 1911.[2] In 1920 Evence Coppée & Cie. acquired the company.[note 1][6]

The company became the largest Belgian producer of sheet metal, reaching a peak production of 142,000 tonnes in 1948. The plant in Longdoz, however was hemmed in by the city, and could not expand. After 1957 the Longdoz plant ceased hot rolling of steel, and was used only for finishing of the plate, and distribution.[5]

In 1960 the company formed, in joint venture with Allegheny Ludlum, a new stainless steel producer: Allegheny-Longdoz (ALZ) in Genk, Flanders.[7]

In 1963 a new plant was built on a greenfield site at a reclaimed floodplain island site at Chertal,[8][9] with a capacity of 1.6 million tonnes of steel produced by the Linz-Donawitz process.[10] Without primary iron production the plant was supplied from the works 22 km away Seraing by torpedo wagons.[11][12]

The company was sold by Evence Coppée & Cie. to Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence in 1970, merging to form Cockerill-Ougrée-Providence et Espérance Longdoz (abbr. Cockerill), and later became part of Cockerill-Sambre, Usinor,[6][13] and ultimately Arcelor and ArcelorMittal though the mergers of its parent companies.



In 2006 the land occupied by the disused steelworks at Longdoz was authorised to be used to create a shopping and leisure complex known as Médiacité.[14][15] The BREEAM accredited complex opened 20 October 2009.[16]

One part of the steelworks remains, the museum La Maison de la Métallurgie et de l'Industrie de Liège; originally opened in 1963 when production was moved to Chertal, in 1971 the collection was expanded by the addition of relics from the Cockerill company. In 1976 the museum was donated to the City of Liege. The museum contains the reconstruction of the earliest Belgian blast furnace, 19th century steam engines and steam driven machinery, as well as other historically important industrial inventions, including the second prototype dynamo of Zénobe Gramme (1871) and a Herman Hollerith Tabulating machine (1889),[2][5]


Infrabel railway line 214 for Chertal, branches from line 40 (Liege to Maastricht)

50°41′25″N 5°39′34″E / 50.690272°N 5.659527°E / 50.690272; 5.659527 (Chertal steelworks)

Production at the Chertal site continued through Cockerill, Cockerill-Sambre, Arcelor, and ArcelorMittal ownership.

The facilities became part of the ArcelorMittal Liege division.[17] Hot rolling briefly stopped in from May to April 2009 due to the economic downturn caused by the financial crisis of 2007–2010.[18][vid 1]

The steel plant was supplied by rail using 130t capacity torpedo wagons. The plant had three LD converters, facilities for iron desulphurisation and vacuum treatment. Production is by continuous casting with a capacity of 3.5million tonnes pa, the primary product is hot rolled steel coil up to 2m wide.[17]

In October 2011 ArcelorMittal announced the closure of liquid steel ("hot phase") production at its Liege division, including blast furnaces in Seraing and part of the plant at Chertal.[19]

As of 2012 in Chertal only the Hot Strip Mill is still working. It is supplied with slabs coming from other ArcelorMittal production sites. Its future is uncertain.[20]


  1. ^ Evence Coppée & Cie : formed 1914, founded by Evence Coppée I, patentee of a Coke oven in 1853, developed into a vertically integrated coal mining and processing company. Disbanded in 1970, holdings later merged with Lafarge to form Lafarge Coppée. Source "Les archives du Groupe Coppée". (in French). Association pour la valorisation des archives d'entreprises (AVAE) - Vereniging voor de valorisatie van bedrijfsarchieven (VVBA). 


  1. ^ Pasleau 2002-3, 2.b.1.
  2. ^ a b c "La Maison de la Métallurgie et de l'Industrie de Liège : une ancienne usine.". (in French). Maison de la Métallurgie et de l'Industrie de Liège. Archived from the original on 14 July 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Toni Pierenkemper (2002). Die Industrialisierung europäischer Montanregionen im 19. Jahrhundert (in German). Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 292. 
  4. ^ Pasleau 2002-3, 2.c.
  5. ^ a b c "Carnets du Patrimoine - La Maison de la Métallurgie et de l'Industrie de Liège". (in French). Université de Liège. 
  6. ^ a b Mommen 1994, p. 45
  7. ^ Yves Mény, Vincent Wright, ed. (1987). The Politics of steel: Western Europe and the steel industry in the crisis years (1974-1984). Walter de Gruyter. p. 693. 
  8. ^ "Cockerill Sambre group". 
  9. ^ Imbert, Dorothée (2009), Between Garden and City: Jean Canneel-Claes and Landscape Modernism, University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 223–7 , note 61, p259 
  10. ^ Mommen 1994, p. 135.
  11. ^ The British Foundryman, 77-78, Institute of British Foundrymen, 1984, p. 348 
  12. ^ Stahl, 30, Centre belgo-luxembourgeois d'information de l'acier, 1965, p. 91 
  13. ^ "Société Métallurgique d'Espérance Longdoz, Seraing / Liége". (in French). 
  14. ^ "Médiacité". (in French). 
  15. ^ "Longdoz – Médiacité : un pas de plus vient d'être franchi". (in French). 19 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Grand opening of Médiacité at Liege (BE)". 21 October 2009. 
  17. ^ a b "ArcelorMittal Liege : Le Primary de Liège". (in French). Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "Redémarrage du laminoir à chaud de Chertal". (in French). 20 November 2009. 
  19. ^ Sources:
  20. ^ L'écho (2012-06-30). "ArcelorMittal: nouvel arrêt d'outil à Liège". Philippe Lawson. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 


  1. ^ "Redémarrage du laminoir à chaud d'ArcelorMittar à Chertal". (in French). RTL Group. 20 November 2009. 



  • Léon Willem, 450 Ans d'Espérance. La S.A. Métallurgique d'Espérance-Longdoz de 1519 à 1969 (in French), ISBN 9782871140481 
  • De Posson, A. (1964), Chertal : Birth of a New Steel Mill on the European Scale, Ministère des affaires étrangères et du commerce extérieur, Services de l'information 

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